She sat on the porch, an open book
in her lap but she wasn’t reading it.
Her eyes were on the street. She was
waiting for her daughter to come home
from school. Somewhere in the back-
yard, she heard the piercing trill of a bird.
It was a beautiful spring afternoon. Quite
peaceful as there was hardly any traffic or people
in the street. This was the kind of life she
had always wanted and she thought she
would have had it with Joe…Joe. She
hadn’t thought about him for years.
It seemed like a lifetime ago when she met
and fell in love with the handsome and
charming construction worker. It was a
whirlwind romance. Within a few weeks
of meeting they got married. There were
no red flags–at least she didn’t see them.
Everything seemed to be going so well…
And then, the honeymoon was over.
First the insults came and they stung
but she put on a brave face and kept
on loving him, thinking things would
get better. Then came the blows.
At first they were followed by tearful
apologies and gifts. And she held him
in her bruised arms and rocked him
like a baby, believing his promises that
he would never hit her again.
The blows continued and more frequently.
No more tears. No more “I’m sorry, Honey.”
Instead, she was blamed for what was
happening to her. After a while she began to
believe that it was her fault. Something about
her brought out the worst in him. When they
first met and even after they got married, he
was so charming and loving. She didn’t think
he could harm a fly. But, underneath that boy
next door veneer, lurked an abusive and unstable
After years of being battered and verbally and
mentally abused, she got the courage to leave.
She went to a women’s shelter where she felt safe and
cared for. She received the counseling and
support she so desperately needed. No more
of looking out the window for Joe and wondering
what kind of mood he would be in. Three months
after leaving the shelter, she learned that Joe had
died from a fall at a construction site. The news
devastated her. In spite of everything, she still
She visited his grave and stood there, tears falling
down her cheeks, wishing with all her heart that
their life together had been different. She never
knew why he became abusive toward her. All
she had ever done was love him and try to be a
good wife to him. And all she got for her trouble
were blows, bruises and belittling remarks.
Thirteen years have gone by since she left Joe and now
she was married again. Bill was a terrific husband
and father to their ten year old daughter. They
met when she started attending church. It wasn’t a
whirlwind romance this time. It took a while for her
to open herself and her heart to someone else. The
physical scars had healed but the emotional scars were
still there. She marveled at Bill’s patience. Other men
would have given up. When she broached this with
him, he said simply, “Love is patient. I’m not going
It was one rainy afternoon when she was walking home
from the subway and saw him coming toward her with
an umbrella that she realized that she was in love with
him. She married him a week later in a simple ceremony.
And now, she sat in the shade on the porch of their home,
looking out for their daughter, Annie.
Being married to Bill made her face up to the glaring truth
that Joe didn’t really love her. If he had, he wouldn’t have
hurt her. Love doesn’t batter, belittle or blame. She had
forgiven Joe and wanted to believe that if he were still alive,
he would have sought help.
She saw a familiar figure coming up the street and
she stood up, smiling. God had brought her from
a dark and painful past to this moment. During one
of those moments when she wondered if she ever feel
safe or happy again that He assured her, “There is hope
in your future.” Yes, from where she stood, that hope
was the life she was now enjoying. God had brought
her from abuse to abundance.
Sources: YMCA; Domestic Shelter